Revitalise Orchard Road with a skywalk

Too many discussions have been going on for too long among the various stakeholders - Orchard Road Business Association, Singapore Tourism Board and other government agencies - on how to reinvigorate the Orchard Road precinct ("Make Orchard a 'go-to place'"; July 19).

It is time to think out of the box and seriously consider building an entirely new pedestrian walkway - tentatively named the Orchard Skywalk - in addition to the existing infrastructure that makes Orchard Road famous.

This walkway, three storeys above existing roads, can run the whole length of Orchard Road to Bras Basah and the Esplanade.

The Orchard Skywalk can be a boon to shoppers, landlords and retailers. Pedestrians will have direct access to shops on either side of the walkway and those beyond via links to surrounding buildings.

It should be at least five lanes wide, allowing for social and family-friendly amenities and activities to be organised. To provide a unique walkway experience, different sections of the Skywalk can be landscaped, say, based on the Chinese elements of earth, water, fire, wood and wind.

One only needs to see how the High Line in New York and Cheonggyecheon in Seoul have transformed the cities.

Open-air walkways are not new to us - there is already one in the Gardens By The Bay.

A unique structure for Orchard Road can help it compete against the likes of the upcoming Jewel project and the megamall attractions in neighbouring countries.

Harry Tong